Welcome to my ePortfolio, above on the Menu you will see a different tabs containing artifacts from my semester in English 250 here at Iowa State University. These artifacts include an about me page, one of my previous assignments revised, my best oral, visual, and electronic pieces, and then four reflections. Look around, enjoy some of the images, and just have fun. Glad you’re here! 

Dear Eric,

It has been a blast this last semester to have English 250 with you. You seems like you love what you do, and you try and make an 8AM as fun as it can be. I do think your are a pretty tough grader, but I believe overall my communication skills in the WOVE modes have improved immensely over the course of this semester.

My written skills as a writer have most certainly improved. Before this class I would have never thought of actually using an outline. I knew of outlines but I never used them, for I did not think they were beneficial to me and my writing abilities. Through this semester I have learned how much easier an outline can actually  make your writing. Before this semester I never really used peer reviews. I came from a class of 38, so I typically had under 20 students in my English or writing classes. This being said I was typically one of if not the smartest student in the room, I was often referred to as the curve breaker. I hardly ever used peer review, because I could catch most of my mistakes by myself. I also almost never edited my drafts in senior year of high school. Our teacher was so focused on the AP exam she was not as worried about how well we were writing, but rather how quickly we could write ideas down in a small amount of time and sort of organize them. This is the style I used on the first couple papers I wrote for this class. I quickly realized this style was not working. Through this semester I  have learned how to use these tool, and how I can personally make my writing abilities better, and continue to grow in my writing aspect of life.

Ever since I was a small child I hated the spot light. I dislike speaking in front of crowds, singing in public, or anything which puts the spot light on myself. Many of the things I do in my everyday life I do not because I want my 15 seconds of fame, but rather because I want to positively impact those around me. This being said I knew public speaking was going to be something I would need to get over. This is why I signed up for competitive speech in high school. I had a blast, preforming close to 50 times in my high school career in front of the student body, parents of those in speech, and countless times in front of judges. I am not saying I did not grow in my oral ability in this class, I am merely saying I had a sturdy foundation poured before I even stepped foot in this class. This all being said I strongly believe two presentations in front of the class is not going to create your oral abilities, but only enhance them. As much public speaking as your can find yourself in the better you will become with it with time.

Visual works are something which take me some time to figure out what is going on with them. I never before had to write anything base solely on a visual work, so this assignment was particularity hard for me. I just had to learn to write out in words what my eyes were seeing, and sometimes pictures of items I cannot relate to are hard for me to comprehend what they are trying to say. I have an engineering brain, meaning I see numbers inside the pictures, and if I can relate the picture to something I have already done or know a lot about it only aids me. I had a hard time with this however, for I try to avoid fast greasy foods, but knew this picture was going to be a challenge for me and I love a good challenge. This assignment has benefited me because it challenged me in ways other than my writing, it challenged me to think outside the box, and it got me out of an engineered filled brain for a while.

The electronic portion of this semester is where I learned the most. Like I have previously stated before this was my first research paper since the 8th grade. This was also the longest paper I have written to this date.  If I were to go back and compare this work to some of my other works this semester there would be a noticeable difference. For also being my second ever research paper I would say I did pretty good on it. Especially beings I had to clue how to cite properly. It so hard to say how much I actually grew in the electronic field because simply I had no prior work with proper research and writing out a research paper. So whatever level I am at with writing out a research paper would be my level of growth as well, especially beings I do not remember to much about the one I wrote in the 8th grade.

Over the course of this semester I have seen my work ethic evolve, as well as my writing style and skills. There are many aspects I will use in future essay assignments I might have, but there is a limited chance I will actually have any writing assignments in the future. This class has taught me so much about the writing process in just one semester, and it has taught me that I was not the writer I thought I was. Now after taking this class I do not believe I am the worlds best writing by any means, but I do know I am a much better writer then when I first stepped foot in this class. Thank you for all of your help throughout this semester.


Michael M. Richards